Lichfield District Council accused of lacking recycling ambition

Lichfield District Council has been accused of lacking ambition after a new local authority recycling league table showed the city had slipped to 29th place.

The claim came from councillor Steve Norman (Lab, Summerfield), who was Chair of Environmental and Health Services from 1995-1999, following the news that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council had become the nation’s top recycling local authority – a position held by Lichfield in 2003/04.

The figures show that Lichfield district residents now recycle 50 per cent of  domestic refuse, compared to 61.6 per cent in the Staffordshire Moorlands area.

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Norman said:

“When Labour won control in 1995 the council had the reputation of being the worst recycler in Staffordshire – recycling only 0.01 per cent of all domestic refuse.  We introduced kerbside collections and managed 25 per cent by the time the Tories won back control.

“They carried on building on the system, with our full support, and became top recyclers in 2003/04 with 46 per cent diverted from landfill.  We pipped previous top recyclers Daventry Council, who had helped advise us, by four per cent with Staffordshire Moorlands in the north of the County recycling only 30 per cent.

“However the Moorlands doubled that figure to 61.6 percent last year whilst Lichfield had only increased it by 4 per cent to 50 per cent.”

Cllr Norman added that there were national and local targets for recycling and Staffordshire’s current target is to recycle 55 per cent by 2020.

But he added that Lichfield was not contributing enough:

“Clearly the District Council lacks ambition as their target is the county’s one of 55 per cent in a decade’s time, whereas Staffordshire Moorlands had a target of 52.8 per cent in 2007/08!

“Apart from being bad for the environment it costs us money to send waste to landfill.  I hope the new bins help but there has to be a greater push by the council to give residents the support they need to get back near the top of the recycling league.”

But Lichfield District Council’s Leader defended the authority’s record on recycling.

Cllr David Smith explained:

“We are proud to be amongst the top 30 recycling councils in the country, which is a huge achievement, and we continue to be a pathfider authority.

“Our new blue bin system will take us back to the very top, together with our new partners Tamworth Borough Council, who have joined us in a groundbreaking joint service. Together we are leading the way in innovative waste management that, in these difficult times, will make considerable savings to our community.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. Unconcerned Citizen

    1st December, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Appreciating there is much inconveniance and impracticalities with recycling – i think the amount of recyclable rubbis people put in thier black bin is quite an issue – perhaps after a good start, lichfield districts civilians are slipping into bad habits.

  2. Phil

    3rd December, 2009 at 10:45 am

    It sounds like Cllr Norman is clutching at straws in trying to win support for himself. He points out that since the Conservatives took power they have increased the amount of waste diverted from landfill by 21%. It’s now at 50% and with the introduction of the blue bins which seem to take more items I don’t imagine 55% is going to be hard to achieve.

  3. Unconcerned Citizen

    3rd December, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Well – increasing it to 55% is just a ten percent increase – so perhaps he is right, the council are lacking ambition.
    I’ve had no end of trouble with bins since living the days of the wheelie bins and green boxes.
    I’ve never been fortunate enough to live in a place large enough to keep them all.
    Currenty my kitchen bin gets moved around depending upon wether i want to use the washing machine or access the fridge. I have no room for green boxes in my flat.
    We dont have wheelie bins – we have  those 5 foot wide things you have at commercial premises.
    I’d imagine nobody has room for a recycling bin in their kitchen where i live.

    Its gonna be a long time before house design catches up with recycling needs – and houses seem to be getting smaller.

    I think its impractical situations like mine that hinder recycling.